Friday, January 25, 2013

Things I Learned at the Hospital

For my loyal readers, and the people who encourage me to know who you are. :-)


The past six weeks have been interesting.  Without telling the whole story now, when it should be a post of its own, let me just say that I've spent quite a bit of time in and around a hospital.  This list is based on some chicken scratch notes that I jotted down throughout the experience.  In no particular order, these are some of the Things I Learned at the Hospital:

1. The staff in a surgical facility will scare the hell out of you just for fun---then look at you quizzically when you are out of breath and ready to pass out from a mad dash across the hospital. Wear your track shoes, or at the very least, non-slip soles!

2. People have the most asinine ring tones on their phones, and one can actually tell quite a bit about the person from the tone and volume at which their phone rings. A "Chipmunks" version of "Cotton Eyed Joe"?  Explicit rap lyrics?  Set it to vibrate, people! 

3. Chairs with different colors and patterns will be arranged haphazardly across the lounge just to make you try to make sense of the nonsensical, and after about five hours, make you want to get up and rearrange the entire room just to make the chairs match, or at least form a pattern. Don’t do it. They don’t like it.

4. Staff members and volunteers place bets on who can eff up a patient’s/family’s name in the most phonetically impossible way. Example: “McGooGoo” (actually McGaughey) If the name they call even starts with the same letter as yours, get up and check, otherwise they’ll keep yelling even more ridiculous things.

5. Staff members also “eff” with the thermostat every 45 minutes or so just to keep you uncomfortable and wondering which layers to put on or remove. Plan for all climates.

6. Signs are strategically placed all over the facility asking those waiting not to eat or drink anywhere in the room. But the second you leave to grab something in the cafeteria, they’ll call you to ask you to come back for whatever reason we can think of. Pack snacks (and if you’re REALLY smart and prepared, “airplane” bottles of liquor—you’ll thank me later).

7. The oft-vied for “good seats” in the corner of the lounge…you know, the ones with a view of the whole room, both TVs AND the surgical update board…well, those are the ones that back up against the cubbies in which all of the volunteers put their vibrating cell phones….the ones that will drive you nuts and make you check your phone every 90 seconds. Find a less appealing place to sit.

8. Staff will tell you that your loved one has been sent to his room 15 or 20 minutes before he is actually due to be there. They do this for the sheer enjoyment of watching you wander around aimlessly and try to figure out what to do and where to go. Pester them by asking for updates, directions, and parking passes every minute or so until your loved one arrives.

9. The hospitals frost the windows of the family waiting room on purpose, to keep you off guard so that you don’t know what kind of people you’re being forced into associating with. That is, until you’re in the room and are either faced with an awkward and hasty departure or being stuck with Jim Bob, the large peppermint-stick fellating redneck and his kids, who have bogarted all of the chairs to create chaise lounges for themselves and their shoeless feet. Avoid the side of the room with the teenage boy.

10. Hospital volunteers are unusually intimate with each other. They use terms of endearment, hug at the end of their shifts, and even kiss each other on the cheek in a not-so-European way. Try not to wonder about their sexual orientation or romantic affiliations, because…well, hospital volunteers are typically old and/or unattractive. (Disclaimer: The above statement is based strictly on my observations and not on any empirical data; no offense to hospital volunteers intended.)

As an aside, Happy Belated New Year, with no false promises about regular postings, because we all know I won't follow through, good intentions or not.  Cheers!

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